The blog of Richard Thompson, caricaturist, creator of "Cul de Sac," and winner of the 2011 Reuben Award for Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Fan Art Saturday Falls On A Sunday This Week

David Paccia, who runs the blog David Wasting Paper, sent in these two fine portraits; Dill looking horrified and Alice probably provoking Dill's horrification. Thanks, David! He's had an excellent run of interviews with cartoonists & illustrators on his blog in the last few months, so go and read!

And Mr. Chris Sparks, designer, comics aficionado, cheesemonger and friend, sent me this design for a magnet he's produced. Excellent, and I understand there's nothing like it for tacking vital papers to your refrigerator, dishwasher, robot or other appliance. Thanks, Chris!

Your Unnecessary Spot Illustration of the Day

For a year or two I did a spot drawing in the Post's Health section for an article that answered readers' health questions. I have no idea what this question was, something about weight gain among babies. But as the burning issue of today is obese children this seemed a good time to post this. I think my wife wrote the first balloon and I did the second.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Historic Otterloop Artifact

Here's something else I found recently. It's a page from a sketchbook I was using in 2003 when I was trying to think up funny names for a comic strip. Right before your very eyes you can see the actual invention of the word "Otterloop," just like watching Beethoven think up da da da daaa, or Shakespeare come up with "Hamlet", or George Lucas putting the words Jar, Jar and Binks together! And the hokiest part of it is, the final names are underlined, like one of those unbelievable clues a detective in a noire thriller finds, where there's a name and address heavily underlined in a phonebook with the note "let's kill this guy" written under it. But that's how it happened and there's the proof. I might have googled the word "Otterloop" to see if anybody else had used it. I did that the other day, and I found the photo below. It's a bus turnaround in Toronto called the Otter Loop that (as of 2006) was in danger of being torn down, and had some people interested in preserving it as an historic example of mid-20th century Toronto area bus turnarounds. That's the kind of vital provenance that you don't usual dream of when you think up a funny name, and I'm glad I underlined "Otterloop" and stuck with it, all right. 

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Richard's Poor Almanack

This is a book I found on eBay a year or so ago and promptly lost, then found tonight on a bookshelf, of all places. It was copyrighted in 1907 by Maurice Switzer who, from what I can tell from some googling, was an author and humorist of the early 20th century who wrote a half-dozen or so books (some of which were illustrated by Frank Godwin, the illustrator and cartoonist who drew the strip Connie). This book, the Almanack, looks like it was produced as an advertisement for White Rock Beverages, as you can tell from the citation on the cover. And every so often there's a full page that says something like, "You should drink White Rock," so it's pretty soft-sell.

It's a handsome little book. I like the almanac parody look of it, with little decorative bits and devices. The humor's kinda thin, as you can tell from this brief excerpt.

But I don't know, if you look at my Almanac book in a hundred years (and please try to hang on that long, or maybe consider cryogenics) you might find yourself wondering when the laughs start. Meanwhile I'm just grateful that you can't copyright a book title. And I'm thinking, maybe White Rock would like to update their advertising with a slightly more contemporary Almanac, like mine.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

More Snow Jokes

I we all laugh hard enough, maybe the snow will melt faster.

Snow Scupltors

More old stuff. Bob Ryan, lower left, has been the Channel 4 weatherman for 30 years. The Awakening, lower right, is a popular sculpture that was installed at Hains Point, but has since been moved to somewhere else, I forget exactly where. My wife had wanted to do something sculptury with the piles of snow in our front yard, but I think we're all now so sick of the stuff that the best approach would be to use a flamethrower on it. Maybe call it Solid into Water, and claim it's process art.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Winter Haikus

Another old Almanac, this time in lovely color. We've had enough feet of winter here to last me until about 2023. This predates Cul de Sac by some years, yet keen eyes will note the kids in silly hats and the pile of parking lot snow, which have both found their way into the strip. But I haven't done hat hair yet...

Thursday, February 18, 2010

For Matt Wuerker By Way of Herblock, By Way of Me

Matt Wuerker, the vastly talented and enormously affable cartoonist for Politico, has won this year's Herblock Prize. The Prize, created by the Herblock Foundation, involves giving a speech, attending a swell reception in one of the most beautiful rooms in America, and a nice chunk of cash. I've known Matt since he moved to DC almost ten years ago, and I've learned that his previous job experience includes working at Yellowstone Park, helping to animate the California Raisins and directing Michael Jackson and Peter Gabriel in videos (though not at the same time). So this whole Herblock thing is kind of a big comedown for him.

Whatever, I'm just hoping, having written this fawning post, that sometime during his acceptance speech before the assembled heavyweights at the Library of Congress Matt will give me a big shout-out.

Below is an Almanac I drew in 2001 when Herblock died. I'd meant to post it on the 100th anniversary of his birth last October, but I couldn't find it. If you ever saw Herblock's office you'd know what mine looks like, and you wouldn't be too surprised how much stuff I can't find.

Your Olympic Dictionary

I hope this helps. It's from about three Olympics ago and I'm sure they've added new words since.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

More Valentine's Day Fun, This Time With Educational Value

This is also a lazy repost, also from the Post mag, this time from Valentine's Day '03. And every word of it is true, or close enough. I was shocked to find out that my editor didn't know that diarist Samuel Pepys' name is pronounced "Peeps", especially as I'd only learned it the day before. I always thought it was Pep-eez, which is actually a stomach antacid. And look, aren't the colors pretty?

Valentine's Day, or Now We Are Six

Or, another crummy rerun repost, this from last year. This is Alice's first appearance in print, on the cover of the Valentine's Day issue of the Washington Post Magazine in '04. There had been a plan to also have this printed on the bag that holds the Post supplements, but that didn't happen, probably because they were afraid it might depress sales. Alice has since gotten a haircut and a face-reshaping. But haven't we all?

Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Games of the 21st Olympiad

This is actually from six years ago, the Athens Olympics, but it still makes some sense inasmuch as its roots are Greek. And this blog post is actually from two years ago, so I might be stuck in some kind of temporal loop. But no, I'm actually at my wife's family farm in Salem, Ohio, sitting at a large kitchen table watching about a dozen loaves of bread come out of the oven. Mmmmm.

What I like best about the Olympics is that it's spread out so that I can be a sports fan every four, or two, years, and for me that works out just right.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Whole Cover

Here, courtesy of Ms. Caty Neis, Graphic Goddess, is the Whole Shebang.

I might try my hand at designing or counterfeiting paper money some time. I hear there's bucks to be made in that field, and drawing little ornatey curlicues sure is fun.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Current Conditions

We're under 26"+ of the damn white stuff with another 10-20" forecast and our internet is intermittent. And the phone's out too. If anybody needs to call, the cell phone is working. Any interested parties who'd care to visit are welcome, as long as they bring a shovel. And some brandy.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Groundhog Day

This is a better scan of an old, previously posted cartoon, sort of reheated leftovers. It's about the best you can expect from this blog